Sunday, January 23, 2011

Privileged to be his Mommy....

There is a gross, awful, possibly-the-flu bug going around my family. It was annoying enough when it hit my husband. But then it attacked my baby girl and her sweet eyes just begged for me to make it go away. I was mad enough at it with that. But then, the vicious thing attacked our Benjamin. He has been the sickest of all as it hit him when his reserves were already low from post-surgery healing. And well, this precious son of mine doesn't have a lot of reserves.

I have to confess here that initially I just wanted to bide our time. I wanted it to be treated just like we had treated Wade and Cate. By keeping them hydrated and using meds to reduce their temperatures. I wanted to KNOW it would be pass in a couple of days and not fret. I really (really really) wanted to not fret.

But alas, his temp hit 103+. Definitely higher than anyone in our house. Dad urged me to take him to the doctor. The doctor (an amazing amazing pediatrician) looked worried. Not in a freak-me-out kind of way. Just in a we-have-to-take-this-seriously kind of way.

And that is when I snapped to. I remembered that my amazing boy is not like a billion other boys on this planet who could have just waited it out. Or even like his baby sister or Dad. No. This one-of-a-kind kid that I get the privilege to Mother needs to be taken care of a bit differently and we needed to respond fast to prevent whatever this vicious thing is from getting to his lungs.

My big boy Benjamin -- weighing in at 2 pounds, 14 ounces, he was the largest of my three!
After a couple of sleepless nights, where I ran back and forth from my room to his all night. Dad suggested he and B swap places so that I could possibly sleep. I argued at first, thinking it wouldn't help Benjamin to sleep. And that's when my amazing husband reminded me of a story from these days....the days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Chicago.

Those were hard days. Hard days. I was struggling to FEEL like the Mommy. These incredible nurses were caring for my babies 24/7. I came in for the day shift -- 7 to 7 -- but when they kicked me out at shift change, I was sent home with orders to get my own strength back. They were hard, emotional days. As a first time Mommy, AND a developmental psych student (at the time I went on bed rest), I was so concerned that they would attach with their nurses. Not me.

And then this sweet baby let me know otherwise.

I arrived at the NICU that morning just like I always did. When I went to Benjamin's isolette (I rotated holding all three and always went in birth order -- B, M, then C), the nurse (NOT one of our favorites!) said he was unstable and I couldn't hold him today. When I asked about it, she pointed to his monitors, told me he was tachycardic and that they couldn't get his heart rate down. She said he needed to be still and not be bothered by me. (Her words...she wasn't a favorite, can you see why?) Then she left. I was heart broken. I immediately opened the little "window", placed my hand on Benjamin's back and began talking softly to him. Letting him know his Daddy and I loved him.

His heart rate went to normal. I didn't immediately make a connection. I just knew it was normal and since that is all we needed, I wanted to hold him. I went to get the nurse. When she came back, he was tacky again -- his heart rate was elevated. She looked at me with disapproval. I immediately put my hand on his back and asked him what he was doing. His heart rate went to normal.

The nurse, watching the numbers, told me to get my hand out of the isolette. His heart rate elevated AS SOON AS I DID. She put her hand on his back. Nothing changed. She drew her hand out and told me to put my hand back. I did. His numbers went to normal.

She threw open the isolette and handed him to me. "Here, take him. You are obviously what he wants."

His heart rate did not elevate the entire time I held him. My Benjamin had found a way to tell me that all was well. We were bonded. He was attached. And I WAS THE MOMMY!

Me and my three once we got them ALL home from the hospital!

Swinging in our backyard in Minnesota with a 3-year-old Benjamin!

Christmas morning when the trips were and my Benjamin!

Thirteen years have passed since the days in the NICU. And still, this boy of mine rests best when Mommy is near. So, for the last couple of nights, I've watched him breathe. I've made sure his fever was monitored and stayed down. And I have prayed beside this precious boy that he would heal and fight this and NOT get any sicker. And what has he done. Well. He has slept like a fat baby. And he is getting better by the minute.

Thank you, Lord!


Claire's Calico Corner said...

We are so blessed to have YOU as our mother!
You have really changed the world, and I'm so proud to have you as my mom. Of course his heart beat regulated when you held him - you have the gift of 'mommy'. I love you!

Anonymous said...

ok...this is a great story! When are you going to write a book, Carol? And how do I guarantee my daughters turn out like yours? :-)